Rotorua's founding document explained in revealing talk

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Fenton Agreement. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Fenton Agreement. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The founding document that led to the formation of the Rotorua township will be presented in two talks this week.

In recognition of the anniversary of the signing of the Fenton Agreement, local researcher Ben Manley will be holding two presentations at the Rotorua Library that are free and open to the public.

Rotorua Lakes Council research specialist Ben Manley. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Rotorua Lakes Council research specialist Ben Manley. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


The Fenton Agreement was signed by Te Arawa iwi representatives and Crown representative Chief Judge Francis Dart Fenton on November 25, 1880.

As Rotorua Lakes Council research specialist, Mr Manley will teleport people through the history of Rotorua including the settlement of Te Arawa, the arrival of Europeans, the agreement that established the township and what happened in the area after it was signed.

"Those behind the agreement recognised the importance of building a township in the area because it was the gateway to the thermal wonderland which was home to attractions such as the internationally well-known Pink and White Terraces," Mr Manley said.

A view of Ohinemutu and Pukeroa Hill circa 1880 (below) and now. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
A view of Ohinemutu and Pukeroa Hill circa 1880 (below) and now. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


Ngati Whakaue, along with its tribal kin Ngati Rangiwewehi and Ngati Uenukukopako gave their blessing by signing the founding document and contributed suitable land near the then thriving hub of Ohinemutu.

Ngati Whakaue kaumatua and Rotorua Lakes Council kaitiaki Maori, Monty Morrison said it was important for people to know the history of the land they lived on.

"It's interesting. We strive to make an effort to learn about people's lineage no matter whether they're Maori or non-Maori because it is a mark of the respect we have for them.

"We should capture this idea and consider how we respect the land we walk on by learning about its DNA because that in itself is acknowledgement to our forebears," Mr Morrison said.

Rotorua Library director Jane Gilbert said as a source for the written history of Rotorua, the library was a fitting place for the talks to be held.

"People regularly visit the library to research their family history and whakapapa as well as local history and Ben's talk will be of interest to many," she said.

The presentations will be held at the library on Thursday at 6pm and Friday at 1pm.

Mr Manley encouraged people to attend the free events.

"I hope people enjoy the presentations and that they inspire people to continue learning about the rich history of Rotorua."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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